One of the truisms of pop music is that in a style's early years, novelty songs are commonplace: the freshness and novelty of the musical form lends itself to giggly comic songs, and in turn new audiences attracted by the humor get exposed to the new kind of music. Jazz, R&B, country, and rock all had dozens of novelty hits in their early years. But as a form matures, it starts to be taken (and to take itself) more seriously, and the novelty hits subside. The first decade of hip-hop was filled with one-off novelty hits and comic songs, from the Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" to DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince's "Parents Just Don't Understand." But the dual rise of socially conscious acts and first-generation gangsta rap in the late '80s largely quashed novelty hits in hip-hop for the next couple of decades. But even in the relentlessly forward-moving world of hip-hop, nostalgia occasionally crops up, and that's where Kid Sister comes in. Favoring 1980s-style retro fashions, eyeball-scorching neon colors, and rhymes about nail salons, beepers, and the World Wrestling Federation, Kid Sister is a tongue-in-cheek throwback to the first golden age of hip-hop, when it seemed like anyone, even your kid sister, could have a hit.
Born Melissa Young in 1980 and raised in the Chicago suburb of Markham, IL, she grew up interested in musical theater, but did not pursue a career in music until after she graduated from college. Encouraged by the burgeoning career of her younger brother Josh Young, also known as J2K of the Chicago DJ duo Flosstradamus, Young adopted the name and persona of Kid Sister in early 2006; with J2K as her DJ and producer, Kid Sister debuted with the giddy single "Pro Nails," which became popular enough as a digital download that Kanye West included a remix with his own guest verse on his summer 2007 mixtape Can't Tell Me Nothing. That connection happened when Young began dating West's DJ, A-Trak (Alain Macklovitch), who also signed Kid Sister to his label, Fools Gold Records. Following a second single, "Control," and an appearance on the MTV reality show My Block, Kid Sister released her debut album, Ultraviolet, in late 2009. ~ Stewart Mason